Crew Change and the future of shipping rationalization processes


At the end of March 2020, a few weeks after the world calmed down due to Covid-19 lockdowns and travel bans, Nick Clarke – CEO of the Singapore-based Greywing platform and supported by Y Combinator – was speaking to a security officer of how to resolve maritime safety issues in the Gulf of Guinea, when the client mentioned that he was having issues related to Covid-19 and could not make a crew change.

“Hrishi (Olickel – Greywing Co-Founder and Company CTO) and I had a quick chat and did a lot more research, chatting with every team leader we could reach, in Singapore and elsewhere, ”he explains. “Over the next two days, we realized that the crew change issues were increasing exponentially and Rishi came up with the idea of ​​replacing hack intelligence with crew change intelligence.”

Launched to market in late July 2021, Crew Change helps companies plan smarter crew changes around Covid-19 regulations through the use of industry data from their previous experience building the platform. -Greywing’s risk form, which was already based on finding the best possible route to move ships from one point to another.

“We realized that we plugged in, cleaned up, and built good datasets for most of the information you would need to resolve team changes,” Olickel adds. “We also realized that we were the only ones with this level of access across the industry, because at the time we had public and private data, good enough to task an automated system to try to solve. this issue.”

Organization of maritime operations to go from A to B

Working with various industry stakeholders, including shipping industry partner S5 Agency World, Greywing has created a comprehensive data set on global ports, routes and costs, to help businesses navigate make the smarter choices for their businesses and people.

“Once you have that, then it becomes a question of optimization. Given these final dimensions that you are looking at, can you chart the best way forward? Olickel asks. The answer rests on the human factor. “Automation and the use of the expertise of team leaders is more than enough for us,” adds the CTO.

Greywing is always working on how to best present technology to users, ensuring that the interface is intuitive and easy to use. “How to best present this information? We have all the information, but then we narrow it down to what exactly a user wants to know at all times, ”he continues.

The solution was also designed to be integrated with CRY4, Greywing’s platform, enabling organizations to make smarter decisions and avoid costly delays.

An advantage for shipowners and sailors

The benefits of Crew Change are particularly clear when it comes to what the technology does for ship owners, allowing them to assess crew changes 180 times faster than they would with analog methods.

“We bring together all the specific data points they need to assess in one location or dashboard, so they can make that decision instantly,” says Clarke.

Crew change is a first technology in the industry. There is currently no other way for ship owners to predict costs, visas and quarantine requirements for crew changes all at once, making Greywing’s technology an industry staple.

“In the past 18 months, just over 1,450 crew changes have been evaluated with our software,” adds Clarke.

Within the industry, shipowners are not the only ones using Crew Change. Sailors and their families have embraced the technology – which is provided free of charge by Greywing – to know when they can realistically disembark, often checking the information their companies provide.

“If it can be of use to them, then they are welcome to use it,” says Clarke. “If there was a way for us to better help sailors, we would. “

Greywing executives believe the best way for them to help the crews more is to get the sailors more engaged, letting the company know the best way forward.

“A lot of people in this industry are trying to solve the problems of seafarers,” he explains. “But I don’t know how many of them engage with the sailors, asking them ‘How would you like this problem solved’. We can’t do everything but we are definitely open to suggestions.

Become a must for the future of maritime transport

Looking ahead, Clarke and Olickel are confident that the shipping industry will continue to rely on technologies like Crew Change even after the pandemic.

As Olickel explains, despite the reopening of countries and a general easing of anti-Covid-19 measures, in the expedition, things are still far from easier.

“If you speak with people in the industry and crew chiefs in the field, every day or every month, there is something new that you need to consider in order to get these ships from point A to a point B, keeping an operational fleet, “he explains.

“Tools like ours are going to become invaluable in the way the job is done. Being able to react with this level of information and automation also makes the industry as a whole more resilient to system shocks. “

The crew change issues were before Covid-19 and are expected to continue to occur even after the pandemic, Clarke adds.

“The requirement for better methods of making crew changes is something that exists in a Covid and non-Covid world but it has been highlighted due to the pandemic,” he concludes.

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